When one hears about the snow in Lesotho, a leisure trip is not the first thing that necessarily comes to mind but taking a break doesn’t always have to evoke imagery of sunny, waterfront destinations.
Considering the relatively dry, warm climate we live in a trip to see the snow in Lesotho can be an experience, but how do you even pack for the Lesotho weather and what are some of the things you should keep in mind?
The Citizen recently spoke to civil engineer Perry Selisho about his Lesotho travel tips. He drives to Lesotho almost twice a month for work and often explores the country when he has time.
The drive to Lesotho
“My drive to Lesotho is very smooth,” Selisho said. “You’ve got two choices. Either you go via the toll road or you go on the gravel road. Either way, it’s enjoyable. There isn’t usually much traffic and you often get there on time.”
According to Google Maps, a drive to Lesotho from Johannesburg via the N1 would take you about 4 hours and 30 minutes and is 411km.
“My advice to people travelling to Lesotho is that it’s a country that is largely undeveloped but it has breathtaking scenery, which I love.”
Due to the fact there is snow in Lesotho, he advises potential travelers to avoid driving at high speeds even though he considers Lesotho to have roads that are of “excellent quality” as driving at high speeds is dangerous.
“At this time of the year there is a lot of ice on the road so it would be best to drive a 4×4 vehicle. A 4×2 vehicle is not advisable.”
There is also an option to fly into the airport in Maseru from locations such as Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, East London and Port Elizabeth.
Things to pack/keep when travelling to Lesotho by road
For the snow in Lesotho, Selisho advises keeping cash for the South African toll points along the way and packing warm clothing. Clothing that is far warmer than you would wear on the average cold South African day.
“The way one would keep warm would be entirely dependent upon the type of traveler you are. For example, if you’re a tourist some of those amenities will come with your hotel or lodge accommodation,” he said.
“For us contractors, we prefer air-conditioning, gas heaters and blankets. As a contractor, I stay at the contractors camp that the other contractors have tried to make very comfortable. However, there is commercial lodging and hotels which can be quite pricey.”
He also advises making sure all your documents are in order, like passports, Covid-19 tests or proof of vaccination, cross-border vehicle insurance and so on.
He says this is to show that the bank has allowed you to take the vehicle across the border if your vehicle is financed.
Covid-19 tests need to be negative and not older than 72 hours.
“There are no security issues that I have experienced out there, although the police and immigration officials have been said to demand an occasional bribe by people who have experienced that.”
“They try to find flimsy faults in every little thing that you do just to try get that little bit of money out of you.”
The food in Lesotho
Selisho says the food options you may be faced with can be a challenge if you’re a fussy eater not staying at commercial accommodation. He said it would be best to take your own food along if staying in alternative accommodation.
Places to stay in Lesotho
If you’re keen on enjoying the snow in Lesotho, you can consider visiting:
Afriski Resort: Situated in Lesotho, located 3,050 m above sea level in the Maluti Mountains. Afriski is one of only two ski resorts in southern Africa. Afriski can be found near the northern border of Lesotho and South Africa.
According to Booking.com, a four-night stay for a family of two adults and two children aged 12 and under can cost anything from R7,080 upwards.
Guesthouses: Lesotho boasts a large number of guesthouses which cost R4,000 to R6,000 for a four-night stay for a family of two adults and two children aged 12 and under, according to estimates.
Hotels: A three-night stay in two rooms to accommodate the family setup is estimated at R5,103 by Hotels.com. Prices at other facilities for the same stay vary greatly depending on amenities, how many stars the facility has and how near or far the hotel is from local attractions.